http://www.oceannetworks.ca/

Earthquake early-warning sensors installed off coast of B.C.

The first-of-its kind warning sensors are developed by Ocean Networks Canada

An earthquake early-warning system tested off British Columbia’s coast could give residents anywhere from 20 seconds to two minutes to prepare before a quake.

The first-of-its kind warning sensors developed by Ocean Networks Canada is installed along the Cascadia subduction zone and when fully operating next March will be able to estimate location and magnitude of a megathrust earthquake.

RELATED: Great British Columbia ShakeOut earthquake drill reminder

Greig Bethel of Ocean Networks Canada, an initiative of the University of Victoria, says the system is active even as more sensors are being installed in the area to increase accuracy.

A simulated exercise was conducted Thursday in Vancouver on the 19-kilometre Canada Line stretch of the SkyTrain system, giving transit operators a chance to slow down trains and hold them at stations.

British Columbia is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, an active seismic zone where thousands of mostly small earthquakes are recorded annually by sensors in the province.

Most of the quakes happen near the Cascadia subduction zone, an area where the Juan de Fuca and North American tectonic plates converge, stretching from Vancouver Island to northern California.

“Ocean Networks Canada’s earthquake early-warning technology promises a new era of earthquake preparedness that will enhance the safety of both riders and workers on the Canada Line,” says Canada Line general manager Ron Powell.

A news release from the network says to maximize warning time, it will focus on setting sensors as close to the Cascadia subduction zone as possible and on minimizing delays in data processing, communication, and delivery of warnings.

RELATED:Earth still moving in Old Fort, B.C., but not above homes: geologists

Global Positioning System receivers will also be located with the seismic sensors to further refine the magnitude.

Earthquakes release energy that travels through the Earth as seismic waves in two forms — secondary and primary waves.

The primary waves travel faster but the secondary waves are the cause of severe damage and ground shaking.

However, the sensors would detect primary waves to deliver alerts before the arrival of the secondary waves.

“The detection of an earthquake by many sensors can provide rapid estimates of the location and magnitude of an earthquake as it occurs,” the release says. “This information can be used to determine the estimated arrival time and intensity of ground shaking at specific locations across a region, allowing protective actions to take place before the shaking hits.”

The early-warning system can help reduce deaths, injuries and property losses, trigger trains to slow down, stop bridge and tunnel traffic, open bay doors at fire and ambulance halls, halt landings for incoming air traffic, and even allow surgeons to stop delicate procedures, the release says.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Advocates call safe drug supply a victory but worry about logistics in pandemic

Pandemic contributes to scarce supply, advocates worried about potential impact on the streets

Greater Victoria survey shows third of respondents did not pay, or partially paid rent for April

Survey of 70 respondents says 40 per cent expect they will not be able to pay May rent

City of Victoria looks to shift tens of millions in 2020 budget due to COVID-19

Mayor Lisa Helps offers her daily municipal, provincial and federal updates

Nanaimo, Royal Jubilee to be Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 frontline hospitals

Other Island hospitals will be admitting COVID-19 patients and will be used in a support role

BC Transit extends free fare, installs vinyl barriers in some buses

Free fare will now be offered until April 30

B.C. clears more acute hospital beds as COVID-19 case growth slows

Province holding about 40% of beds empty for peak still to come

75-year-old woman rescued from Cowichan Lake

Victim taken to hospital, but expected to recover

Not to become bored the game plan for COVID-19

Board game with an Island map developed by Island family just the remedy for filling time at home

As 500K+ apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

UPDATE: UK PM Boris Johnson moved to intensive care after COVID-19 symptoms worse

He has been quarantined in his Downing St. residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26

Travellers, travel agents ‘in agony’ over refund policies and customer service

Many Canadian carriers are offering customers flights rebookings or travel vouchers — but not refunds

Introverted and extroverted kids likely to react differently to COVID-19 restrictions

B.C. child psychologist says your parenting approach can’t be one-size fits all in social isolation

B.C. begins taking submissions for $2M COVID-19 research fund

Rural health, impact of shifting hospital resources among priorities

Most Read